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Letter from the President: December 2017

There is something quite wondrous about cycles in nature. Nature’s patterns always instill me with hope and remind me of renewal and restoration. Each year at this time, as the year closes and a nation finds itself reflecting, I too try and take a moment to think about the past year before it resets.

To be honest, 2017 was one in which many of the things we believe in and understand to be true came under attack. In January, our Climate and Clean Energy director wrote about the sharp turn in the path forward to curb climate change, in March we joined more than 190 philanthropic institutions calling for inclusive immigration policies, in April we defended journalism’s critical role in democracy, and in August we lifted up the many voices of our grantee partners in siding with equity, inclusion, empathy, and justice instead of hate and division.

But I am, at my core, an optimist. And when I think of this year, I can’t help but also think of brilliant, passionate people working on the issues we care about—early childhood education, climate and clean energy, human rights, and science—and on the great progress they made in 2017. Scientists detected gravity waves produced by the merger of two neutron stars for the first time, a new interactive tool helped us better understand characteristics of preschool-age children to inform policy and action, and we learned that student enrollment in state-funded preschool programs reached an all-time high. We watched as our grantee partners launched valuable early math resources for those who educate teachers, and clearly explained neutrinos in just three minutes.

Most of all, though, when I reflect, I think about how we are once again reaching a reset point. And how while winter might be upon us this week, it is always, always followed by spring.

Wishing you and your families happy holidays, and a new year of hope.


Deanna Gomby
President & CEO
Heising-Simons Foundation